Blackhawks: Andrew Desjardins getting the breaks, goals


Blackhawks: Andrew Desjardins getting the breaks, goals

There have been a few times this season when Andrew Desjardins has looked skyward, wondering how a great scoring chance hasn’t gone in for him.

Then on Tuesday, one went in for him. Then another. Then two days later, he got another. And just like that, Desjardins was snake-bitten no more and the Blackhawks were getting more of that supplemental scoring they’ve needed so much.

Desjardins scored three goals in his last two games as the Blackhawks wrapped up 2015 with two victories. Desjardins is part of a third line that may stick for a while: he, Teuvo Teravainen and Phillip Danault have shown chemistry and have maintained good work on the defensive side. But it’s the points those three are bringing which have really helped lately.

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For Desjardins, it just seemed the goals were destined to happen at some point.

“Give a little bit up to luck there in the first game, you know? The first one, I guess, was a little bit of a relief and the second one bounced in with a little luck,” Desjardins said of Tuesday’s second goal, which went off an Arizona defenseman and in. “But in general we’ve been playing with a lot of energy, our line, keeping pucks in the offensive zone, keeping pressure, tiring their guys out. It probably stems from that as well, going to get breaks if you’re playing in their end and doing the right things.”

Desjardins is one of a few players who was a healthy scratch a few times earlier this season. Even when he was back in the goals weren’t coming — again, more than a few guys struggling there this season. But coach Joel Quenneville said Desjardins has looked more like himself lately.

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“Desi, when he came here last year, one thing we found is how effective and efficient he was with the puck. His production didn’t reflect his possession game and how handy he was in tight areas. This year started ordinary in that area but he’s made some great progress the last couple of games,” Quenneville said. “He’s had [the puck] on the stick a lot and the finish is the bonus. It’s nice to see him produce, that line produce. There’s a little more balance in our attack but great progression in his game, for sure.”

Yeah, about that line of Desjardins, Danault and Teravainen, which has become the Blackhawks’ third (we think): on paper it doesn’t seem the most logical combination. But it’s working with a good blend of defensive-minded play (Desjardins and Danault) and an offensive threat (Teravainen). The combination also gave Teravainen a chance to return to the right side; he’s had three assists the last two games.

“It’s been fun playing with Philly and Desi,” Teravainen said. We’re playing fast, checking well and getting loose pucks. We try to hold onto pucks and work hard; that’s huge. We have to help our top guys score.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

The Blackhawks have gotten a few more guys to score the last two games, Desjardins among them. The chances have been there; they had to go in eventually.

“We all want to try to score goals. Sometimes it’s not the case. We have another role to play by playing good D,” Desjardins said. “But it’s obviously rewarding when you put a few in the back of the net.”

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

Blackhawks edge out Senators in shootout: 'It was really nice to get a win'

It was a rare sight to see the Blackhawks in a shootout on Wednesday night.

It was just the second time this season — and first time at the United Center — that the Blackhawks made it past 3-on-3 overtime. 

The last came on Dec. 2, 2017, a 3-2 shootout loss to the Stars in Dallas. On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on the other end, beating the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a seven-round shootout. Nick Schmaltz netted the game-winner.

"We'll take it," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a decent game tonight. Overtime not so good, I liked the shootout victory, Fors made some big saves for us particularly as the game got deeper. Our third was OK, I thought our first two were way better, and overtime we gave up some high quality, some bells were rings for a bit there. But it was nice to see the shootout win."

Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist, recording another multi-point game, his 16th of the season.

"I mean we need every point we can get at this point," Kane said. "There's still belief in this locker room. Obviously we need to go on quite a run and have a big record here down the stretch. But take it a game at a time and nice to get two points."

Anton Forsberg was a big reason the Blackhawks even recorded those two points. The 25-year-old netminder stopped 34 of 36 shots and made a handful of big saves down the stretch.

"It was really nice to get a win for sure," Forsberg said. "I would love to have a lot more wins, but right now just gotta look forward and get as many wins as possible."

Added Quenneville: "I think it was good for him to win a game the way he did. Lot of shots were on the line, as we progressed, got deeper, hitting the point first was big for him and for us and then finding a way to get the extra one was a good win."

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?